Systematic Obstacles of Climate Change Mitigation in Yerevan Household Waste Landfill Site By Example of Biogas Collection and Utilization

Systematic Obstacles of Climate Change Mitigation in Yerevan Household Waste Landfill Site By Example of Biogas Collection and Utilization


EcoLur continues its series of publications dedicated to the project on solid household waste management in Yerevan (Nubarashen Landfill Site). The project is funded with the loan of 8 million Euros granted by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and a grant of 8 million Euros provided by the EU. The assessment is provided by 'Khazer' Ecological and Cultural NGO.

“Waste management in Nubarashen landfill site has certain prehistory directly related with climate change and Kyoto protocol (Clean Development Mechanisms - CDM). The Kyoto Protocol obliged developing countries to take measures (to undertake quantitative commitments) on reducing greenhouse gas emissions into atmosphere.

Japan undertook a commitment to decrease emissions by 6% from 2008 to 2012. After detailed examination of the materials submitted by Armenia, one Japanese company proposed to implement a project on the utilization of landfill gas – methane in Nubarashen landfill site and on the construction of a power station, which will use this methane as fuel.
Whereas all the expenses of construction, equipment purchase and exploitation were covered by the Japanese side. The contribution of Armenia was the transfer of so-called Certified Emission Reductions of greenhouse gases (or units of emission reductions of greenhouse gases) to the Japanese party, i.e the transfer of the CERs obtained as the result of the project implemented in Armenia helped to partially carry out Japan's obligations on the Kyoto protocol.

Armenia and Japan approved the project at the governmental level, which was agreed with the ministries of economy, nature protection ministry, social welfare and Yerevan Municipality on the compliance of the principles of sustainable development. The project was submitted for approval to the international competent body - the Clean Development Mechanism Executive Board of Kyoto Protocol.

The Japanese party spent around US $ 1 million on the investigation and procedural events. Nevertheless, the works designed by the approved project was suspended at the stage of signing an agreement between the interested Japanese companies with Yerevan Municipality.
For unclear reasons Yerevan Municipality once again applied to Economy Ministry for the clarifications on the expediency of this project implementation, while Economy Ministry, which earlier gave its agreement to this project, made a request to the World Bank (?), which assessed this project as containing 'high extent of financial risks'.

It should be mentioned that with estimated expenses of US $ 8-11 millions covered by the Japanese side, which should have transferred the constructed power station to the municipality after the exchange of the abovementioned CERs. The negotiations were run during two years at the highest level. Eventually, the Municipality agreed to allocate only 7 ha for the project out of the landfill site area of 35 ha, but with one condition – to refuse from electricity production and to burn the collection biogas in torches. Two Japanese companies, consortium members, refused to take part in the project, while Shimizu company agreed to stay and to continue the project in such a reduced extent.

Thus, the Japanese party lost the opportunity to obtain a huge number of certified reductions of emissions and together with the Armenian party was deprived of the profit to be gained from the sale of electricity, which would have made up 300.000 USD per year for each side. Armenia also lost 30 working places and innovation technologies, which could have been used for the landfill sites in Gyumri and Vanadzor by implementing such environmental projects. Nowadays biogas is collected through drainage equipment in this 7 ha of Nubarashen landfill site and is burned in the torches.

Any opportunities to implement the project in the full extent are currently missed. The cost of unit (per ton) of reduced emissions in the international carbon market dropped from 8 dollars in 2009 to 20-25 cents. Shimizu Company continues bearing losses and implementing Nubarashen project paying salaries to the employees and implementing annual monitoring and certification of emission reduction of greenhouse gases at its own expenses.'

15:34 January 20, 2017


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